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20 of the Best Summer Jobs Geared for College Students

Once that last final is completed, many students head home for a summer’s worth of fun along with the pressing need to find a summer job.  Whether earning money to help pay for tuition, housing, or living expenses, students need a summer job to make the most of their time out of the classroom.  On the other hand, there are many seasonal jobs and temporary positions that rely upon college students to fill their staffing needs.  College students looking for work should check out the following forms of employment to raise cash for college and to pay for their summer fun!


Picking up a waiter or waitressing job is a great way to make fast cash and meet people.  Be sure to check with places that have outdoor patios that are just opening for the season; these types of restaurants or bars typically need extra staff to wait on all the extra tables.  If you already have serving experience, check with some higher end establishments; they may need summer help and the tips tend to be better than at most chain restaurants.

Camp Counselor

Be sure to check for summer work at your local park district.  Most communities have park districts that hire college students to work their summer recreational camps.  Typically, the park district looks for college-age instructors that can teach arts and crafts, tumbling, or tennis.

Community Grounds Crew

Summer is prime time for most towns and college kids are always needed to mow the grass around the parks or other public properties.  College students often work for the town performing painting tasks or helping the regular maintenance staff with summer projects.

Landscape Crew

If you like to get hot, a job working for a landscape crew is just the thing.  It tends to be physical work, but most landscaping companies take on extra help for the summer season.  Landscape crews perform everything from mowing lawns to trimming trees to moving earth.

Pool Gal or Guy

Cleaning people’s pools is one way to get poolside over the summer.  Not terribly demanding and lucrative if you can round up enough pools, pool maintenance is a seasonal job that often relies on college students to see it accomplished.  Check with stores that sell pools or pool supplies to see if opportunities exist in your area.


If you live near a public pool or beach and have the proper certification, being a lifeguard is a rewarding experience that many college age students enjoy.  A responsible position, it is, nevertheless, fun to be near the sand and surf on those hot summer days.

Quiet in the Stacks

Libraries often run summer reading programs that rely on additional staff.  Libraries are usually looking for shelvers and would probably be open to supplying work to a willing college student on his or her breaks.

Going Old School

If you have a good relationship with your old high school or primary school, there may be work to be had.  Summer is a time for special projects and school districts regularly hire college students to help out in the office, assist the maintenance staff with projects like painting, or to manage younger students who are also working in some capacity over the summer.

Two Scoops or Three?

Specialty ice cream shops boom during the summer months.  College students can often find part time employment making banana splits and serving up hot fudge sundaes.  It might not pay for Harvard, but it is a great place to stay cool and make some extra cash.

Golf Caddy

If you enjoy working outdoors and getting a lot of sunshine and exercise, a job as a golf caddy is a great seasonal job.  Check with your local golf course or nearby country clubs to see if you can help out for the summer as a caddy or in some other working capacity.

Office Temp

Check with a temporary agency to gain office experience.  Since today’s college students are often equipped with great computer skills, there is a serious likelihood that finding a temporary office job will be easy—especially if you have access to a large city.  Running a copy machine and answering phones might not be a dream job, but some temp jobs are interesting and pay better than the fast food counters.


Ok—it may seem high school, but many families are prepared to pay more for a college student.  Lots of working parents rely on summer babysitters to help meet their childcare needs when the kids are out of school.  Check with your mom—she probably knows who needs a sitter!

Concert Venue

In many cities, concert venues are hot spots during the summer.  College students can often find work as parking attendants, ticket takers, or concession workers.  You’ll be busy, but you can still hear the music and meet lots of people.

Hold the Anchovies

Making pizza may not seem glamorous, but pizza places do lots of business, particularly during the summer months.  Finding kitchen work or as a delivery driver is often easy.  If the place likes you, they’ll often take you back on subsequent breaks, too.

Amusement Park

Seasonal amusement parks and water parks rely heavily on college staff to meet their staffing needs.  You might be running a merry-go-round or selling cotton candy, but you can certainly count on a pleasant environment and a steady pay check.

Local Hospital

If you’re planning for a healthcare career, it pays to check with local hospitals to see if they have any need for a seasonal employee.  College students are sometimes hired to transport patients, work in the cafeteria, or assist in one of the offices.

Fast Food Attendant

Fast food chains are always hiring and a college student, especially one with prior experience, may be a welcome addition to a busy counter.  It may not be a dream job, but it is a reliable way to earn money and gain work experience.


The mall isn’t for everyone, but if you want a job indoors, you’re likely to find something by submitting your application to any store with an opening.  Mall jobs usually involve cashiering, stocking, and performing basic customer service roles.  If you land a job at a fashion store, you may be allowed a discount when you shop!

Garden Center

Garden centers are popular places to find summer work.  As a seasonal venue, these establishments generally rely on seasonal workers.  You’ll get to know plants and probably need sun block, but you’ll meet people and earn a decent pay check.

Mail Room

If you want business experience, it doesn’t hurt to seek a summer job in a mailroom.  You’ll gain office experience and get to witness how businesses operate.  You may be living at the copy machine or making deliveries to other offices, but you’ll earn better pay than at many other seasonal venues.

These are just a few ideas to consider for summer employment.  Ask yourself where you’d like to work; fill out an application and don’t be afraid to go after that job.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

Today’s guest article is provided by Hayley Spencer on behalf of Hayley is a financial expert who offers advice and tips to students. We are pleased to have her contributions on

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5 Responses to “20 of the Best Summer Jobs Geared for College Students”

  1. Amy Loy says:

    Mystery Shopping can also be a great source of income and allows for a flexible schedule for students. Evaluators are independent contractors, and they pick the shops they want when they want to do them. Payment varies and is typically based on complexity of the assignments. Second To None, Inc. currently has a bunch of shops available for shoppers 18-25.

  2. Blas Valenzuela says:

    A great list of temporary jobs but sure ways of income. I also like notion that students can be good as mystery shoppers since many youth have a lot of buying power. Imagine, gaining income as a shopper and spending that money as a shopper!

  3. Casey says:

    I have been a lifeguard for 5 years and have never come close to 9.85 an hour. I don’t suggest the job to anyone. You are constantly responsible for the lives of others, depending on your area you deal with horribly irresponsible parents, and if your pool is understaffed count on a 15min break every 2.5 hours, even in the 100 degree summers of the midwest


  1. […] job for college students, especially if you like working around children. Doug Schantz wrote in “20 of the Best Summer Jobs Geared for College Students,” posted May 31, 2012, on “Be sure to check for summer work at your local […]

  2. […] job for college students, especially if you like working around children. Doug Schantz wrote in “20 of the Best Summer Jobs Geared for College Students,” posted May 31, 2012, “Be sure to check for summer work at your local park […]